No Touch Crosswalks

Posted on June 2, 2020


Western & Petaluma

To protect community health, the City has made adjustments to 3 of the high-use pedestrian crossing intersections in downtown Petaluma. The following intersections will not require a pedestrian to touch the crosswalk button:

  • Petaluma Boulevard and Western Street
  • Petaluma Boulevard South and B Street
  • Western Street and Kentucky Street

These specific pedestrian crossing signals will work without the need to push the activation buttons. Vehicles may notice a slightly longer wait at these high-use pedestrian crossing intersections as a result.

Signage is also installed reminding people to not touch the buttons. It is not feasible to remove the push buttons because they are needed for people with visual impairments who rely on the audible pedestrian system which is activated through the push buttons.

In keeping with public health guidelines, residents should avoid using their hands to touch shared surfaces in the public like pedestrian push buttons, and also other common items such as handrails and benches.  Always wash your hands as soon as you return home or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.

To share your thoughts or concerns or for questions, contact Project Manager Jeff Stuttsman at 707-776-7603 or at Jstutsman@cityofpetaluma.org.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Why are there signs on some pedestrian push buttons around the City? 

A: The City of Petaluma is working to slow the spread of COVID-19 by eliminating the need to push crosswalk buttons at certain locations with high pedestrian use or that serve essential services.  Any intersection with signs on the push buttons will have touch-free activation.

Q: Do I need to press the push buttons? 

A: If there is a notice next to the push button indicating that pushing the button is not required, you do not need to press it.  At the appropriate time, the signal will automatically activate the pedestrian crossing phase.  When a crossing sign is illuminated, watch for vehicles and cross when safe.

Q: Which intersections will be affected? 

A: 3 intersections will be converted to touch-free activation. Currently, we have implemented these changes at 3 locations:

  • Petaluma Boulevard and Western Street
  • Petaluma Boulevard South and B Street
  • Western Street and Kentucky Street

Q:  There are no cars on the road. Can I proceed if the intersection is clear? 

A: Pedestrians are still required to wait for the walk signal before crossing the street. Please continue to exercise caution and look both ways before crossing the street.

Q: Will the timing on audible intersections be affected? 

A: No, audible indications for those with visual impairments will work the same as non-audible indications

Q: Why are the changes only temporary and why can’t all intersections feature touch-free activation?

A: Touch-free activation can lengthen the signal time, and ultimately increase delays for transit vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. Signals that are converted to touch-free action must be considered within the context of safety and impacts to all road users including vehicular, bicycle, transit, as well as first responders.

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